James Forrest is facing a ‘very late call’ to be included for the Celtic derby trip to Ibrox on Sunday in the Scottish Cup.

Forrest limped out of last week’s match against Livingston with back, hip and hamstring stiffness.

After spending six months on the sidelines after ankle surgery, it was a worrying sign he might not quite be ready for the rigours of top-flight football.

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John Kennedy was quizzed about his status in today’s press conference, telling reporters: “He’s come on reasonably well in the week. We got a bit of work in to him yesterday and he had a down day today just to recover. We’ll have a go at him tomorrow to see where he’s at.

“It’ll be a very late call but that’s just in the position we are in. The magnitude of the game we’ll give it as long as we can and make our decision late on that.”

If the issue has dragged on this long in the week, that’s obviously not a good sign that Forrest will be fully fit for the encounter, even if he’s given the nod.

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As we stated earlier in the week, the fact this match has been pushed back 24 hours could well end up being a massive positive for Celtic.

My gut feeling here is that Forrest will probably play on Sunday. Kennedy won’t want to tip his hat on Forrest’s status given how much his inclusion or absence could change Celtic’s tactics on the day.

If he’s available, it seems likely a 4-2-3-1 formation will be fielded against Rangers once again.

The thought of Forrest and Mohamed Elyounoussi running at Steven Gerrard’s defensive line in a one-off cup game is exciting.

James Forrest Celtic derby

James Forrest celebrates scoring for Celtic / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Even if we can get a good hour out of the Scottish international it would be worth starting him in my book. He’s shown in recent weeks how crucial he is to the Bhoys attack, netting goals against Falkirk and Livingston.

Fingers crossed for a class team announcement on Sunday.

In other news, Celtic interim boss John Kennedy has confirmed the imminent exit of Patryk Klimala.

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